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Making Socially Responsible and Ethical Marketing Decisions: Selling Tobacco to Third World Countries

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Making Socially Responsible and Ethical Marketing Decisions: Selling tobacco to Third World Countries

A. Identification of Issues and Problems

I. Background Context

Primary Problem:

Over the decades, the Third World countries have become the site for growing tobacco production and consumption. Tobacco production increased in Africa, Latin America, and in Europe. In some parts of India, Latin America, and the Philippines, over 70% of people smoke. This pattern can be expected to reproduce an epidemic of smoking-related diseases in the Third World countries including lung cancer and coronary heart disease. Smoking also can be expected to affect stillbirth and infant mortality rates. For many Third World countries, tobacco is a valuable cash crop and an important source of foreign exchange. Fertile lands are used to expand tobacco cultivation rather than to produce food for local populations. The Third World tobacco industry is dominated by Western tobacco companies based in the US, UK, and South Africa. Much of their profit comes from tobacco exports to developing countries and from their subsidiaries there, especially in light of increased awareness in developed countries of the hazards of smoking.

II. Issues and Problems

1. Using the model in Exhibit 1 (decision tree for incorporating ethical and social responsibility issues into multinational business decisions) as a guide and assess the ethical and social responsibility implications of the situations described.

The first question the model asks is whether the decision efficiently optimizes the common good or benefits of the business firm, society, the economy, and the individual. From the tobacco business standpoint, the answer is yes it does. They are making huge profits by doing business in the Third World international markets. Next the economy benefits because Third World government often profit from tobacco sales. Brazil collects 75 percent of the retail price of cigarettes in taxes, over $100 million per month. As far as the society is concerned, one could argue yes to this point as well. The people living in these Third World countries are not living in the best of conditions. The US tobacco manufactures offer them a small escape from their world to a more affluent western world by smoking its products. This is questionable because the idea of tobacco benefiting any society is one that is man-made. In that, the idea is generated through aggressive advertising and promotions.

Does the decision respect the rights of individuals involved? Yes, it does. The people have the right to make the best decision for them.

2. Can you recommend alternative strategies or solutions to the dilemmas confronting the tobacco companies? To governments? What is the price of ethical behavior?

Most marketing decisions have ethical ramifications whether business executives recognize it or not. When proper action is taken, the ethical dimensions go unnoticed, but when the marketing decision is ethically troublesome, the outcome can be publicly embarrassing or worse. Alternative means of controlling should include the health-related consequences of smoking including further promotion of restrictions and tighter controls on the sale and distribution of tobacco. Social marketing programmers based on techniques developed by the tobacco industry should be used. We should use of the industry's own tactics to counter its messages. Tobacco companies should recognize that they have a responsibility no just to gain profit but as well as having the people's health being safe.

The price of ethical behavior can be quite costly. In this instance, if the cigarette consumers were made aware and had a firm understanding of the harmful effects of smoking, I believe that there would be fewer smokers. That would mean a less consumers will lead to less sales, and less money involved to all.

3. Should U.S government support U.S tobacco company interest abroad?

Maybe it should be left to individual governments to regulate cigarette consumption through taxes, advertising bans, and educational programs.

B. Solutions and Recommendations

As to individuals:

1. Being aware of the risks and hazards of smoking to our health and environment - we, as responsible individuals should lessen, if not stop cigarette consumption.

As to the Government

2. Western governments should pressure international tobacco companies to reduce and eventually stop exports to the Third World.

3. Third World Governments should be urged not to depend on tobacco growth and to substitute it for food crops.

4. Health Departments should undertake surveys to determine the prevalence of smoking and, on the basis of study results, introduce appropriate health education measures. Physicians should recommend to governments legislative measures to control smoking.

5. There should be a ban on advertising, health warnings on cigarette packets, a ban on smoking in public places, and restrictions on the sale of cigarettes to children.

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4092629

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/smoking.html

Making Socially Responsible and Ethical Marketing Decisions: Selling tobacco to Third World Countries

A. Identification of Issues and Problems

I. Background Context

Primary Problem:

Over the decades, the Third World countries have become the site for growing tobacco production and consumption. Tobacco production increased in Africa, Latin America, and in Europe. In some parts of India, Latin America, and the Philippines, over 70% of people smoke. This pattern can be expected to reproduce an epidemic of smoking-related diseases in the Third World countries including lung cancer and coronary heart disease. Smoking also can be expected to affect stillbirth and infant mortality rates. For many Third World countries, tobacco is a valuable cash crop and an important source of foreign exchange. Fertile lands are used to expand tobacco cultivation rather than to produce food for local populations. The Third

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